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Can you help me help this girl?

  1. Apr 16, 2010 #1
    I'm the nerdy one, so that's why I'm here. Pls bear with me while I tell you the story about my friend. I know everyone in the story. The dialogues are edited.

    She is a girl who is smart, kind and beautiful. Although all she shows to the world is only her face and hands, because, being a Muslim she wears the hijab, I know she has many admirers. Her gentle disposition seems to make hearts melt. But her heart is her own; she hasn’t given it to anyone. People would ask her, why is such a good catch like her remain single?

    One evening, a middle-aged man went up to her. After exchanging greeting and casual chat, he said to her that he is worried about his son who is the girl’s acquaintance. He is worried that all his son thinks about is work and might not settle down. The man asks her if it’s ok if his son were to contact her, perhaps to go out with her.
    This girl smiled in surprise. She replied that she does know his son, and told him that she knows that he has many girls who like him. To this, the man said, “I do know some of those young girls. He’s not interested in any of them. Neither do I. But I like you. I think you’ll make a good match for my son.”
    She blushed and said softly, “Uncle, how do you know that? I don’t think I’m worthy of your son. Really, he deserves someone better.”

    Days later, the man’s son called her. He apologised for his father’s behaviour that day. But he was grateful that his father took the initiative for him. The man’s son is really interested in the girl but he is so busy and so shy that he didn’t know where to start. Since that day, they kept in touch by sms. One day, he told her that he has tickets for a movie and asked her out. Unfortunately, it was a hectic period for the girl at work, so she had to turn him down. She didn’t get any messages from him again. He didn’t reply to any of hers.

    One day, her friend wanted to introduce her to a guy, her colleague’s cousin.
    “Why me?” the girl asked. “You’re unattached too. And you’re older.”
    The friend was against matchmaking for her own self, so the girl finally told her friend, “Ok, give the details, if it makes you happy.”
    So, for a few weeks, the girl is chatting on the internet with her friend’s colleague’s cousin. One day, he asked her out on a date. To this, she said, “Ok, but let’s double date.”
    That day, the guy brought his friend, while the girl brought her friend, the supposed matchmaker. During that date, the girl talked very little but her friend talked more. In the end, her friend clicked better with the guy and they went on to have a relationship.

    One evening, on the way home, she bumped into the man’s son in town. They chatted a bit about work and she thought they could start something again. A few days later, another friend called her with an exciting news. She had been meeting the man’s son for some advice on work for some time and said that she has fallen in love with him. Now, she is asking for the girl’s advice if she should go for it and let him know her feelings. This girl said, “Of course! I’m so happy for you! You two would make a great couple.” But I know deep inside, she has feelings for him too, but would not spoil it for her friend.

    The girl is fairly often presented with many prospects, from guys who had interest in her, to those who want to play matchmaker, to even those who like to take her as their daughter in-law. In short, they saw her as a very eligible bachelorette. But really, is there a way to help her? I’m worried if she carries on with the low self confidence and self-sacrifice. I want her to finally find someone she loves and settle down before age catches up with her so that she can be happier. So that she & I can really do double or even triple date.

    Advice & suggestions greatly welcomed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2010 #2
    If you want to help her then discover what she wants for herself and help her achieve that. Don't decide for her what would be best for her happiness. If she is to have any confidence then she needs to make her own decisions on how to live her life. The best way to help her would be to listen.

    I'm not convinced she is as unconfident as you believe her to be. Try listening rather than judging.
  4. Apr 17, 2010 #3
    Hi Huckleberry, you may be right. I'm not sure what she wants for herself really. What I see & hear are these missed opportunities which she deflects away from herself. There are a few times she uses the "I'm not worthy" excuse. That's where my impression of unconfident comes from. How then can I get her to open up?

    Just curious. Is it possible for someone to be friends with other people and yet remain emotionally detached?
  5. Apr 18, 2010 #4
    When she says "I'm not worthy" she may be trying to say she isn't interested in a way that won't deflate the self-esteem of the guy that is interested in her. If she were interested in a guy then I doubt her "worthiness" would be an issue that would keep them apart if he were also interested in her.

    If you want her to open up then I would recommend trying to see her point of view. From the original post it appears that you have some strong opinions on relationships and happiness. Maybe she feels differently. Feel free to keep your opinions, but if you want to understand hers then don't make your opinions into expectations. Ask questions with an open mind while withholding any judgement. Her actions indicate that she avoids confrontation, especially with men. Create an environment that is free of confrontation, where whatever she says will be heard by a neutral ear, where she is accepted as she is and not as you want her to be. Then she may feel free to tell you what you want to know. Have patience and don't be demanding.

    Emotional detachment isn't anything I would recommend, especially for a friendship. Have your emotions, but keep them in perspective. Don't give up the ability to reason or your ability to feel. There are situations that call for both of those qualities in different measure.
  6. Apr 19, 2010 #5
    Hey Huckleberry, this is tricky. it's not easy to open up. now you make me afraid that i'll say or do something wrong in my effort to help (without her knowledge actually). i guess she's smarter that i thought. your 1st para is really an interesting insight. surprising that i get this from you instead from her own self.

    Another thing that you got spot on is the confrontation part. I'm not sure what to do yet but meanwhile "having patience and don't be demanding" is definitely something that i can do for now. :rolleyes:
  7. Apr 19, 2010 #6
    Could some of this have to do with her cultural background? I'm not sure, but in islamic culture, it's probably taboo for a girl to take initiative.
  8. Apr 19, 2010 #7
    This is the part where I say it is best to be yourself. If you're afraid of that then you aren't in a position to help anyone else. Say what you gotta say. In this case I don't think you have to say much at all. Just be a friend and listen. She may appreciate having someone to talk to without all the social gymnastics.
  9. Apr 20, 2010 #8
    Galteeth, that too and belonging to the Malay community with a similar 'taboo'. But in this modern day and age, almost anything goes, right? One friend even suggested joining a social dating website to network & make friends anonymously.

    Huckleberry, I am a friend and have been listening, as shown by the story in my original post. But there's a point at which I'm not sure how else to help besides listening, thus this thread.
  10. Apr 20, 2010 #9
    I question how well you've been listening. You've stated what changes in her life would make you happy, but there's no indication of what would make her happy.

    Maybe she is reluctant to be helped because she doesn't need the help you are offering. Consider the possibility that her happiness may have different requirements than your own. Is she unhappy being single? If not, then the problem isn't hers.

    You're trying too hard, and thinking too much. I don't think your situation is the right place for it. You aren't her shepherd. If she is confident then she leads her own life.
  11. Apr 28, 2010 #10
    She's my best friend and I really want to help in any way I can, if I can, directly or indirectly. That's all.
    She's quite a shy person and I don't think I can post personal issues here. What I can say is that she's not entirely happy being single.
  12. Apr 28, 2010 #11
    Since you know more about the situation then anyone here, what type of advice/information are you looking for?
  13. Apr 28, 2010 #12
    Force her into situations she doesn't get herself :wink:

    Only advice I can give is to force her get over her shyness.
  14. Apr 30, 2010 #13
    A desirable woman who is not entirely happy being single, but does not go on dates?

    Ok, let's assume she is looking for a partner and lacks confidence. My first guess would be that she is hung up on someone and isn't free to act on her feelings. Considering the difficulty you two are having in communicating it may very well be you or someone you know well. Or maybe she is gay or lesbian and isn't comfortable with revealing that to people.

    First, get her attention. Pause for a moment to let her know your attention is focused on her. Then try asking her if there is anyone she is interested in. Examine her reaction for signs of avoidance that exceed her normal behaviour. Does she have difficulty answering this simple question? Is she looking at the floor or randomly around the room? Does she change the subject? Does her emotional state change rapidly after you ask the question?

    A friend of mine recently did something like this to me. My uncle died in February. The circumstances surrounding his death made me angry and I was carrying all that around with me. It was interfering with everything. My friend and I went out to dinner to talk about it. At one point he just stared me dead in the eye and touched my elbow. After about a second I just exploded into tears in the middle of the restaurant. I didn't even know that I felt that way, but expressing it helped me deal with the anger.

    If you poke and prod her for a response then she will close up even more. Keep in mind this isn't about your need to be helpful. This is about what is best for her according to her. Present yourself as a diary, or the Wailing Wall, or as the universe looking at her through you. Present a void for her to fill, then ask out loud the most basic questions she may be asking herself. This is what I mean by listening.

    What part of the world is she living in?
  15. May 24, 2010 #14
    Hey all, thanks for reading and all the advice. I think I'll let this matter rest. Que sera sera!
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